Friday's update to Apple TV, which was unceremoniously pulled over the weekend following stability issues, is back again – with iTunes radio and cloudy AirPlay support.
The update, version 6.0, disappeared some time on Sunday following reports of eager upgraders seeing their content disappear or their beloved TV boxes bricked. Apple Insider tells us that everything is now better with the upgrade back on the servers and ready to download.
Version 6.0 supports iTunes Radio, but more interesting is AirPlay from iCloud which enables the box to stream content from the user's iCloud account under the control, but not routed though, another iDevice.
That mirrors what Google and Netflix are doing with DIAL and is clearly a more efficient way of arranging things.
Alternatives such as DLNA and Miracast expect the mobile device to receive, decode, re-encode and then transmit video content to a nearby TV, which means only the mobile device requires authorisation to play the video – but burdens it with a lot of processing and networking overheads.
To view content using DIAL, or Apple's AirPlay for iCloud, both the controlling device and the box playing back the video need to be logged on to the video service, in contract to Miracast or DLNA where the mobile device is the only one connected to the source. To do that both devices need credentials – username and password – but that's not an issue for Apple, as all iDevices are expected to be iCloud-friendly.
How well it works in practice we'll have to see, but at least we should now be able to do that without risking our hardware or our content – unlike those who leapt in early over the weekend. ®